Radar is a powerful tool in meteorology, but it important for a trained meteorologist to be able to tell the difference between the radar signals from true storms and those signals caused by false echoes from objects on the surface of the earth, like buildings, mountains, and transmission towers. It seems like the problems caused by this so-called “ground clutter” would be greatly reduced for radar stations aboard ships at sea (since there are basically no objects on the surface of the ocean to reflect the radar beam), but actually maritime radar operators have to deal with a related phenomenon called “sea clutter”. In today’s episode of Weather Break, Creighton University student Anastasia Yanchilina takes a look at what kinds of features on the ocean can interfere with radar signals and what can be done about it.
Wikipedia has a surprisingly nice overview of radar in general.
Here you will find a short summary of the problem of ground clutter.
Anastasia provided the following references concerning the topic of sea clutter:
Wetzel, L.B., 1990: Sea Clutter, Naval Research Laboratory, NRL Report 9244.
Rinehart, Ronald E., Radar for Meteorologists, 4th edition, Rinehart Publications, 2004: Columbia, Missouri.
Skolnik, Merril I., Radar Handbook, 2nd Edition, McGraw Hill, Inc., 1990: United States of America, pg. 13.21-13.27.
Ward, Keith, Robert J.A. Tough, and Simon Watts, Seac Clutter: Scattering, the K Distribution and Radar Performance, The Institution of Engineering and Technology, 2006: London.